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University of York Library
Library Subject Guides

Skills Guides

Don't panic



Things are going wrong

Things go wrong (and they go wrong for everyone). So how can you put them right?

Ask for help

It's alright to ask for help. And at University there's plenty of people to ask:

Help in the Library

You can get help in our libraries at the Help Desk or online. You can also get one-to-one support:

  • Get help on literature searching and making the most of the Library and its resources by booking an appointment with the Faculty Librarians for your department — you can find their contact details on your Subject Guide.
  • The Writing Centre offers guidance on planning assignments, writing arguments, integrating sources, academic writing style, proofreading your own work and more.
  • The Maths Skills Centre offers advice and guidance on maths topics, statistical concepts and analysis, and preparing for numerical reasoning tests.
  • Our study coaching service let's you explore your current approach to academic life to help develop your study skills and strategies.
  • IT Support can help with a range of computer and software-related queries.

Forthcoming training sessions

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Damage limitation

Most of the time in these guides we look to tell you the best ways to do something, but the best ways often take time. If things have gone wrong at the last minute, as so often they can, what can you do to quickly get them back on track?

Here's some common scenarios you might unfortunately find yourself in, and some suggestions for how you might get out of them...

My file is corrupted / missing / deleted

Don't panic: get in touch with IT Support early on — we might be able to help. And if it means you're not going to be able to submit an assessment in time, contact your department too.

If a file's gone missing, open up the program it was created in and check the recent files, just in case it was saved somewhere else. Check your Recycle Bin and other prominent folders on your computer in case you've accidentally deleted or moved the file. Do a search of your hard drive for the file's name.

Have you got a backup? If you've stored it on your own computer, was it syncing to cloud storage like Google Drive or OneDrive? If you've stored it on a University network location like your personal filestore (H or M drives) there may be backups of previous versions of both the file and the folder (you'll find them in the Previous versions tab under Properties in the right-click menu on Windows machines). If you've stored it in the cloud you should also be able to access earlier versions.

I've misunderstood the assignment

You're getting to the end when you suddenly realise "Ach! I've answered a completely different question to what was being asked!" Don't panic: First of all, talk to your tutor or supervisor — they're there for a reason. Is there time to book in with the Writing Centre? How much of what you've already done can you rewrite to address the actual task? Or can you even legitimately reframe the question slightly to match the answer you've written? Chances are you're going to need to do at least a bit of quick research so can you get anything decent from Google Scholar that you can skim-read and incorporate?

Argh! Everything needs doing at the same time!

Yeah, that happens, annoyingly. Don't panic: how close are the deadlines? Can you create fake deadlines earlier in the process to help you stagger your workload? Plan out a logical order. What needs to come first? Are some of your projects similar enough that some of the preparation for one is the same as for another? Take a look at our time management guide for more pointers. But avoid just reading it to procrastinate!